Saudi Arabia has made rapid strides in increasing its literacy rate, with 96 percent of the Kingdom's population being declared literate.
"The Kingdom has made remarkable achievements in its relentless struggle against illiteracy and has scaled down the illiteracy rate from 60 percent in 1972 down to four percent today," Abdul Rahman Al-Modairis, director-general of education in the Eastern Province, said in a statement on the eve of the World Illiteracy Eradication Day, which is celebrated globally on Sept. 8. The Kingdom put in place a syllabus for adult education in 1956 and began implementing it in 1957, he said, adding that about 99 percent of children, including girls, are now school-going and that one or two new schools are being opened daily in the Kingdom.
"We look for the day when the Kingdom will achieve a total eradication of illiteracy," he said.
Al-Modairis said that 21 adult education centers have been opened in various parts of the province in which 600 people are studying. This is in addition to 72 adult women literacy centers, in which 1,550 women are expected to join.
There are special programs for people in locations where no adult schools have been opened, he said.
He added that the government has opened a number of night schools and intermediate and secondary schools for men and women who could not complete their school education in the past.
A major feature of the 1956 adult education syllabus was to reduce the period of education to three years.
The government issued the Adult Education and Illiteracy Eradication Regulation in 1972, defining the general policy for education and literacy drives. The regulation pointed out that it was the duty of the public and the private sectors to educate people of age.
The next major move made by the government to support the literacy drive was to establish the General Secretariat for Adult Education in 1984. Qur'an schools also played a major role in making people literate in the Kingdom.